Leigh Mercer, palindromist
J.A. Lindon, palindromist
Alastair Reid, writer
John Taylor, "the water poet"
Peter Hilton, codebreaker
Help us identify the authors of these
Back to The Palindromist
Great palindromes are works of art, and their authors deserve all of the fame (and ridicule) they can get. Even bad ones require cleverness and hard work.
Right now, though, few people know who wrote even the most famous palindromes. Cartoon books and Internet lists of palindromes routinely copy famous examples with no attempt to credit the authors. This web page is an attempt to start giving credit where credit is due.
The dates for "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama" and "Able was I ere I saw Elba" -- and the kids' magazine palindromes from the 1800s -- come from O.V. Michaelsen, who is probably the greatest authority on the subject today. His book Words At Play (Sterling Publishing, ISBN: 0-8069-97-5) covers the subject in great detail.
Anyway, here are the authors of several of the best. Note how well known each palindrome is, and yet how unique: their makerís mark is evident. Future issues of The Palindromist magazine will have profiles of these writers, plus your contributions toward identifying who wrote other masterpieces.
"Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts."
"Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus."
"Dennis and Edna sinned"
"Lager, sir, is regal."
"Madam, Iím Adam" - 18?? (probably impossible to tell)
"Able was I ere I saw Elba" - 1860s (NO, it was not Napoleon. He was French, remember? Source: O.V. Michaelsen)
"Rise to vote, sir" - 1925
"Sit on a potato pan, Otis" - 1965 (possibly Dmitri Borgmann?)
"I roamed under it as a tired, nude Maori." - 1973
"Eros? Sidney, my end is sore" - 1980 (Willard Espy?)
Dora saw tides united under a red nude tin used; it was a rod.
--Herbert, "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks magazine, July 1868
Draw pupil's lip upward.
--Willy Wisp, "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks, Aug. 1866
Redroot put up to order.
--Charles T., St. Louis, MO, "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks, April 1866
Red rum did emit revel ere Lever time did murder.
--Edward A. J., "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks, June 1866
Snug & raw was I ere I saw war & guns.
--Submitted by W.G.S. (W.G. Scribner of Lincoln, NE?), "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks, April 1866
Star, live on. No evil rats!
--Meg, "Our Letter Box" in Our Young Folks, May 1867
Did I trap a rat & tar a part? I did.
--Henry S. P. (age 13), "Our Letter Box in Our Young Folks, June 1866
Back to The Palindromist